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Week 23 is the scariest week of pregnancy since premature birth can happen at this period. If a baby is conceived at this time, he would have a chance of survival. However, he would most likely experience serious learning and physical disabilities.
The mother in week 23
In week 23, an expectant mother will experience a lot of weird things like a fuzzy mind and swollen toes. Her skin will be full of discolorations such as reddish palms and soles, pink and purple stretch marks, and a dark line on her belly (linea nigra).
Week 23 symptoms
Rapid hair growth
A soon-to-be mom might notice some hair growing in some new and embarrassing places. Rapid hair growth during pregnancy is caused by the raging pregnancy hormones. But there is no need to worry since this will end after the child is born.
Colon congestion (commonly called as constipation) plagues mother-to-be due to the increased production of progesterone. This hormone relaxes the gastrointestinal muscles which leads to colon congestion.Pregnancy week by week
In addition, the uterus expansion takes up the space of the bowels and puts pressure on them at the same time.
Pregnancy gas (widely known as fart or flatulence) occurs due to the presence of relaxin and progesterone hormones in the body. These hormones slows down the digestive movement which causes gas.
Excessive saliva (or saliva build-up) is also caused by the presence of pregnancy hormones. This symptom usually occurs on pregnant women who are experiencing morning sickness and/or pregnancy-induced heartburns.
Increased leukorrhea (also known as vaginal discharge) is caused by the increased levels of estrogen. This hormone causes triggers the production of leukorrhea.
Braxton Hicks contractions
A Braxton Hicks contractions is the irregular tightening of the uterus. Contractions are a way of preparing and practicing the body for child labor. This symptom begins in week 6 and lasts until the weeks before the baby’s arrival.
As a soon-to-be mother nears the 9-month mark, expect the vaginal lips to swell up. The vagina tends to swell due to the increased blood flow in the uterus.
Pregnancy-induced brain fog
Pregnancy-induced brain fog (widely known as forgetfulness) is caused by lack of sleep and hormones which messes up with memory. Studies have shown that the brain tends to become more emotionally active when a woman is pregnant.
Furthermore, the volume of brain-cells decreases during 3rd trimester. But there is no need to worry since the brain functions back to normal a few months after child birth.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (commonly known as tingling hands) occurs when the nerves in the wrists are being pressured. This then leads to tingling sensation accompanied by ergonomic strain and repetitive motion.
Increased appetite (also called extreme hunger) is the female body’s mechanism of nurturing two bodies. Increased appetite is caused by the growing baby’s demand for more nourishment.
Even though a woman does not snore during pre-pregnancy, then some heavy snoring now that she is pregnant. This symptom is caused by the pregnancy hormones which causes the mucus membranes in the nose to swell.
Sensitive gums are caused by the presence of pregnancy hormones. These hormones also make the gums vulnerable to bacteria and plaque build-up which makes the gums tender while pregnant.
Nosebleeds is caused by the swelling of the mucus membranes in the nasal passages plus the increased blood supply during pregnancy.
Backache occurs during pregnancy due to the added weight of the growing baby in-utero. This symptom will last until the baby arrives.
The baby in week 23
At week 23, the baby is not just getting bigger, he (or she) is getting cuter. Baby is already capable of listening to the noises and voices outside and in-utero. In addition, here are the step-by-step fetal development which takes place during this week:
- The growing baby measures about 10.5 – 11.8 inches from crown-to-heel and weighs around 12.7 – 20.8 ounces. His life-support system (placenta) has been completed just recently. The placenta transfers the oxygen, nutrients, and eradicates waste products for his nourishment.
- Pneumocytes, capillaries and specialized lung cells are beginning to form. This production takes place as the baby’s lungs and blood vessels are beginning to develop in preparation for breathing.
- Baby’s skin has a saggy appearance since the skin grows faster than fat. In line with this, adipose (fat) tissues begin to develop and fill up the sag. The deposited fat will later settle things out and soon he will begin to fit his frame. With that being said, the baby will be reaching the 1-pound mark milestone anytime soon during week 23. Then by the time of conception, he will plump up and get chubby.
- Keratin, a thick and protective protein is being produced on the baby’s skin cells. Keratin aids to thicken the skin as he continues to develop.
- During this week, the baby’s skin is reddish in color. This is because the veins and arteries are beginning to develop underneath. In a like manner, his internal organs and bones can be seen through his skin. The baby’s skin will become less transparent as the fat deposits sets in.
- His hearing is already established. In fact, the in-utero sounds are clearest for him like his mother’s heartbeat and grumbling stomach. Studies even show that pregnant women who listens to classical music boost their unborn child’s IQ.
- Little nipples are beginning to take form.
- The baby is capable of swallowing regularly at week 23.
- His eyes are fully formed however, it still lacks pigmentation. As a matter of fact, the baby can already do some rapid eye movements (REM).
A genital tubercle, the primary genital tissue will soon transform into a clitoris for a baby girl and a penis if it is a boy.
Furthermore, if an expectant mother carries a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his groin from the abdomen. On the other hand, a baby girl’s uterus and tiny ovaries are fully developed. In fact, her ovaries are already housing at least 6 million egg cells.
Pregnancy tips for week 23
23 weeks of pregnancy, halfway to go before the baby arrives. An expectant mom must still discipline herself to do the right things and eat the right food to avoid harming the baby’s development. An expectant mother must consider doing the said activities.
Things to do during the 23rd week of pregnancy
A soon-to-be mom massaging her own bump deepens and strengthens the bond between her and the baby even in-utero. In addition, a bump massage brings a lot of benefits for the mother and the baby such as:
- Relaxes the body
- Relieves certain body aches
- Improves sleeping
- Aids in the body’s blood circulation
- Reduces anxiety
- Boosts good mood
Having a bump massage is recommended during the later weeks of pregnancy.
Purchase a wrist brace
If the carpal tunnel syndrome is severe, consider purchasing a wrist brace. Ask a health care provider on the suitable wrist brace for her.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Another option to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome is asking the doctor about nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to take.
Opt for small several meals and snacks instead of 3 large plates when pregnant. The muscles tend to be sluggish during this stage due to pregnancy hormones that is why eating frequently is a must.
Staying hydrated is necessary while pregnant since the body is working hard to develop a baby. Plus, drinking lots of water (aim for atleast 8 glasses per day) brings a lot of benefits during pregnancy such as:
- Prevents colon congestion
- Prevents pregnancy-induced heartburns
- Flushes out body toxins
- Washes away excess sodium
- Washes away by-product substances
- Relieves leg cramps
- Eases edema (swollen ankles, feet, and hands)
Sleep on the left side
Whenever her nasal passages clogs up, sleep or lie on the left side of her body. This position aids in the body’s circulation.
Put on some nasal strips at night time to clear up the nasal passages to help sleep soundly at night.
Another option that a soon-to-be mother can do to clear up her nasal passages is to put a warm-mist humidifier in the bedroom. A warm-mist humidifier moistens the air she breathes.
Prop up on pillows
To ease various body strains that is caused by pregnancy, prop up on pillows when going to sleep. With that being said, keep the head slightly elevated to prevent the nasal passages from clogging.
Choline (or acetylcholine) is a type of mineral which aims in boosting both the mother and the baby’s brain function. Studies show that eating plenty of choline-rich foods serves as a memory-forming chemical in the brain.
Eating plenty of DHA-rich foods such as Omega-3 (preferably salmon) is very beneficial during pregnancy. This is a kind of nutrient which aids in a healthy brain function and development for both the mother and the baby.
What to avoid in week 23
To avoid the possibility of birth defects, premature labor, and stillbirth here are the things that an expectant mother must strictly avoid taking, eating and/or doing.
Caffeinated food and drinks
Caffeine is a diuretic which can cause birth defects to the growing baby. Plus, it disrupts the sleeping cycle of both the mother and the baby. Aside from coffee, food and drinks which contains caffeine:
- Soft drinks
Vices are strictly prohibited for pregnant women as it is very harmful on both parties. vices that should be avoided:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Taking illegal drugs
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Sleeping pills
Did you know that the effectiveness of gingko biloba as a memory booster is not yet proven? This herbal supplement has not been proven safe to take during pregnancy.
Cut back on the bean intake during pregnancy. Eating beans can contribute to pregnancy gas and puffy appearance. Aside from beans, foods which contribute to gas:
- Fried foods
- Sweet and sugary foods
- Rich and buttery sauces